A dynamic YA series entry that continues to combine realistic adolescent issues with imaginative, magic-based fantasy.


From the The Virus of Beauty series , Vol. 2

A young wizard faces magical repercussions after he heroically helps some witches in this YA fantasy sequel.

In the first book of this lively series, fledgling wizard Wilf Gilvary, a soccer-playing teenager in Hong Kong, used newfound powers to cure witches of a magic-killing virus. Unfortunately, the magical Veil, a spell separating the witch and wizard domains, was corrupted in the process. Now, the Council of Wizards expects its witchy counterparts, newly headquartered in the Hong Kong store formerly owned by Wilf’s father, to turn Wilf over to them to undo the damage. The wild ride that ensues in the crumbling Magical Realms encompasses the protagonist’s changing relationship with young witch Katryna Wakefield; his eerie, seemingly impossible connection with the Guardian of the Veil; his fugitive stepsister, Myra Picton; and chilling experiments by Katryna’s wizard father and his assistant, Malik, to create an alternative to the Veil in the “normal” world. Lyall skillfully juggles each fantastical plot point while shifting perspectives between Wilf and Myra. Along the way, the author never loses sight of the grounding, real-world dilemmas faced by her characters, including addiction, betrayal, gender conflicts, and, significantly, the issue of consent when Malik forces Myra to bond with him using a magic bracelet. Throughout, Wilf continues to struggle with his identity as a wizard, which he’d never sought for himself: “He had never thought of magic as surrounding him before….He had thought he could escape, walk through a door, and exit this life. But that wasn’t true. His every breath was touched with magic.” The novel ends with a suspenseful teaser of what’s to come in the next installment.

A dynamic YA series entry that continues to combine realistic adolescent issues with imaginative, magic-based fantasy.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73600-272-8

Page Count: 201

Publisher: Hazel Publishing Company, LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.


A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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An accomplished, exciting debut.


From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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